YOUR HEALTH and icing tips: Cold Beer and Nachos

YOUR HEALTH and icing tips: Cold Beer and Nachos

If you have spent any time with your chiropractor or your massage therapist, at some point you have been given self-care that involves ice. Most soft-tissue injuries involve some degree of inflammation. It is important to slow the inflammatory response to prevent further tissue damage and scar tissue development. An easy way to assist your body with the healing process is to apply ice to the area. Pain attributable to injury often causes associated muscle spasms. The muscle spasms further increase the pain and this increase leads to even more muscle spasms. This painful cycle can be altered by applying ice, which will act as an analgesic (pain killer). By eliminating pain from the cycle, the muscle spasms will decrease.

So, how often should you be icing and for how long? The simple answer is also the most complex: everyone’s body is different and there are a lot of different protocols for icing. In my experience, I have found great results going with a fun acronym! Hence … Cold Beer And Nachos.

There are several stages the skin goes through as it decreases in temperature and heads towards frostbite. Therefore, the “therapeutic dose” of cold should stop well before frostbite kicks in. Due to differences in tissue density between people, it might take two minutes or it might take ten. Cold Beer And Nachos helps clients remember the stages the skin goes through.

  • Cold = Cold: at first, your skin will feel cold
  • Beer = Burning: you will notice a slight burning feeling
  • And = Achy: the skin will start to feel achy
  • Nachos = Numb: it is at this point that you have sufficiently iced and you have received all the therapeutic benefits from this session of icing. It’s time to remove the ice.

When the affected area is numb, you have reached your tolerable limit. You should let the skin re-warm and apply the ice again. There is no way to “over ice” an area. If you’re following these instructions, you can ice in cycles all day!